Freezin’ for a reason: Polar Plunge exceeds fundraising goal for Special Olympics Virginia

DALEVILLE, Va. – Saturday marked another successful polar plunge benefitting Special Olympics Virginia.

The pandemic forced some unique circumstances and also made the cause more important than ever.

“It was great!” WSLS 10 News team co-captain and Chief Meteorologist Jeff Haniewich said.

The scenery was a little different for this year’s Polar Plunge but the cause was the same.

“I’m thankful the water is not 35 degrees. It’s in the 70s right now which will still be cold when you jump in but it’s not going to be anywhere near 35,” said Caroline Ratkus, aquatics director at the Botetourt Family YMCA.

“We were freezin’ for a reason,” WSLS 10 News team co-captain and anchor Brittny McGraw said.

“You can’t ask for a more worthy organization than the Special Olympics of Virginia,” Haniewich said.

The full event couldn’t happen in-person because of the pandemic, so more than 200 teams found their own, safe way to plunge. That includes the 10 News team, dressing in style for a dip in the pool at the Botetourt Family YMCA.

“It’s worked out really well that people could just plunge wherever they’re at so it’s gotten some new people on board and we’re really, really pleased that we have exceeded our goal this year of over $700,000,” said Nancy Morehouse, Southwest region director for Special Olympics Virginia.

In fact, this year’s plunge raised more than $778,000.

The original goal was half of what the plunge would raise in a normal year, but the community came through with generous donations that couldn’t come at a more important time.

“Our athletes have historically been in situations where they’ve been isolated, either socially or where they live, their environment and so this year’s been really difficult,” Morehouse said

“To be able to support an organization that is making sure athletes of all abilities can stay connected, we’re really happy and excited to be a part of that,” McGraw said.

Thanks to your generous donations, the 10 News team also exceeded its goal, raising $6,650.


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